Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by zombie, Mar 18, 2007.
Or a blessing, depending on your POV.
I guess you don't like ESB then?
A little perspective, there.
I like the way they all turned out.
I find comparing ESB to ROTJ is like comparing chalk and cheese. Totally different movies with totally different atmospheres and pacing. Even more so if I try to compare ESB to the PT. The only connection ESB has with ROTJ are the characters and the concept of a Rebellion and an Empire. But they're all totally different in ROTJ than they are in ESB.
I've read and watched his interviews and he's been quite constant in all of them. He's said the same thing in all of them:
Leia is not The Other
Leia leaves the story to become queen of what's left of her people
Luke goes off on his own at the end to search for his sister
This isn't a constant, his most recent interview simply said Luke wanders off on his own like a lone samurai, as did a previous one.
Even if he is relatively consistent, it doesn't mean he's right, he's just cemented his own recollection. I think there's elements of truth in there, but it's more reflective of vague notions of what would happen in 'the next one' before ESB was finished (or even started), & some of those notions may have existed before Darth Vader became Luke's father. The sister in hiding is a concept that existed in Leigh Brackett's draft of ESB - and Luke was told by the ghost of his dead father!
I'm not even sure when Kurtz left the LFL family - a number of accounts seem to imply that he was around during the development & pre-production of ROTJ, but Rinzler's book on ESB states that he was effectively replaced as producer of ESB by GL & Howard Kazanjian before the shoot was even finished. Does anyone know exactly when Kurtz & GL officially parted ways?
The only thing he's right about is that there wasn't going to be a second Death Star. Kurtz is likely remembering the 'sequel plan' circa early '78 that followed the continuity of Leigh Brackett's draft: Han is NOT put in carbonite, but instead goes off in search of a old mentor/father-figure (incidentally, Kurtz glosses over this aspect). Instead of Luke going off alone "like a samurai", he was suppposed to 'get the girl in the end' - that is, Leia*. However, this may have only been the case before TESB/"Episode II" went into development. After all, the "sister" part wasn't there before TESB. With a mysterious sister, his purported romance with Leia would likely take a back seat. Kurtz seems to be mixing elements of this paradigm with that of the story once it changed part way through the writing of TESB - Father Vader, Han in carbonite, etc.
*Of course, this is from the 'saga plan' circa Dec '75, where Ben doesn't die but lives on in the two sequels (hence, no Yoda).
That's weird, because I seem to remember in 1980 Kurtz doing promotional visits/interviews for TESB. At any rate, doesn't the very same Rinzler making of book 'downplay' Kurtz having been 'replaced' during post-production?
According to Garry Jenkins' "Empire Building", the two never officially parted ways. It's even unclear if Kurtz was formally on Lucasfilm payroll, although he was of course strongly involved in its creation and development, as Kinetographics was incorporated as soon as 1974.
Apparently the "new" kinetographics as a real production company was set up in early 1982, so it is probably around that period that Kurtz stopped any connection to Lucas and Lucasfilm, and "officially" moved.
According to most independant sources as well, his involvement in ROTJ's pre-production post ESB is almost non-existent.
The real question isn't so much about when Gary Kurtz actually stopped being an LFL employee, or if he was ever technically replaced as producer on ESB, it's about just how much involvement he had on the films & when. His remarks about the 'original vision' of ROTJ really seem to refer to concepts devised around 1978-79, when ESB itself was still in a period of gestation - and when he would have been privy to discussions about such storylines. I'm curious as to whether or not he could have possibly been aware of anything discussed about ROTJ during 1981-82.
Since TMOTESB seems to rule out Kurtz' involvement there, I wouldn't expect Rinzler's upcoming TMOROTJ to shed any light on that matter.
Here's a strange little bit of "what might have been" type trivia - the fourth draft of The Star Wars (Jan 1, 1976) contains a handful of scenes that would be replaced in the Revised Fourth Draft, i.e. the shooting script, by the Docking Bay 94 Jabba scene:
It's archived in the Starkiller script site, in the complete fourth draft of ANH. Starkiller also has the other drafts of that film.
They've even got Brackett's draft of ESB now, both transcribed & scanned. To my knowledge, the site has all the SW drafts ever leaked to the public.
Not quite all--the fifth draft/shooting script of ESB is floating around on the internet and I don't think they have it at Starkiller, only the fourth draft.
(Of course, the shooting script doesn't include the special insert pages, which featured not only the "I am your father" dialogue but also Luke losing his arm; thus, in the script most of the ESB cast and crew read, Luke only gets a cut on his forearm instead of being maimed outright.)
A general question on the subject of leaked scripts (not just SW) - just what does the date that is often quoted in official publications refer to?
I ask because I recently located a scan of the first draft of The Two Jakes (1990 - sequel to Chinatown) which clearly bears a date the day before the official date of this draft mentioned in multiple sources. However, this scan is riddled with handwritten corrections & scribbling - just as the leaked Leigh Brackett draft of ESB is, & which reveals previously unknown gems, such as the actual name of Luke's sister, something never, ever mentioned before.
My theory - these leaked drafts covered with scribbles are the last version a writer works with before a typist prepares an official copy for submission, following the hand-written corrections. The official date that is quoted refers to the date it is submitted for copyright or to a studio for consideration, so the date on the one containing hand-written corrections will clearly be earlier. As such, when a publication such as Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays quotes information from a draft, the one the writer is using (the one with the 'official' date) may not contain omitted information, such as Neilith Skywalker.
When and why "Annikin" changed to Anakin? I assume it was somewhere between ESB and ROTJ?
Hard to say exactly when the spelling changed - the name appears throughout the early drafts of SW, last appearing in Draft Three as the name of Luke Starkiller's father, & is always spelt 'Annikin'.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1977, GL states, "Luke's father is named Annikin". Presumably that's the spelling that was in place at that point, being based on the drafts - however, I don't believe the name ever popped up again anywhere until the time of ROTJ, when it's spelt 'Anakin'. The ghost of Luke's father is only referred to as 'Skywalker' in Leigh Brackett's draft of ESB.
No idea whatsoever why it was changed. Perhaps the later spelling is closer to the way GL wanted the name pronounced, not that I can see much difference. Maybe it looks a bit better on the page.
Just to confuse matters, it's been long believed that the name was based on that of British director Ken Annakin, an associate of GL's, (although GL apparently denies it), & that spelling is a combination of both.
The "Anakim" were a race of giants mentioned in the Book of Joshua (in the Old Testament). There is also a "Witch of Endor" in the same book (Endor was a village, apparently). Perhaps Lucas did some Old Testament reading or searching for names before Jedi. He used a lot of names from other mythologies.
'Endor' is one of the names Tolkien used for Middle-Earth, too, I imagine he got it from the Old Testament.
All terrible ideas compared to what we were given. Lucas found the most natural way to resolve the storylines. The above ideas sound formative & open ended, probably the result of GL not knowing how the story was going to end!
Remember, though, that those ideas are supposed to come from a time when Return/Revenge of the Jedi wasn't the end. Instead, there would be a sequel trilogy after that. Assuming that they're really things that were considered (the Han thing almost definitely was discussed because of Harrison Ford's contract, but the others come from Kurtz so we can't be sure), they sound open-ended because the end of the middle trilogy was supposed to be open-ended.
I don't think they're automatically terrible ideas. How the next three films would play out would probably determine my opinion of their awfulness.
Has Lucas ever officially denied Kurtz's statements about the original conception for ROTJ ?
He said several times during the 90's and the Prequels production that the Sequel Trilogy was more or less a media invention, which we all know is a joke, and that no actual stories ever existed but only vague ideas, which seems to be true.
But has he ever been confronted to what Kurtz said in interviews or elsewhere ?
Not to my knowledge. There is some good information in TSH and Making of ESB that relates to the Sequel Trilogy. I was keeping track of some of it in a text doc (pretty disorganized, sorry):
Nellith Skywalker is Luke's sister, hidden across the galaxy and undergoing Jedi training at the same time (First draft of ESB). The second draft contains neither this character nor the notion of an "Other." The third draft says that the master Jedi now must now search for another. The fourth and fifth drafts bring back the notion that there "is" an Other (October 1978, February 1979). Lucas says he added the "there is another" line solely to create tension, but the specific changes in phrasing of the line and the apparent development of the nine film saga around this time suggest that the notion of a character being trained across the galaxy, whoever it might be (probably a new character), is being brought back and used as a sequel trilogy hook.
First official mention of the nine-film saga (July 1979). Lucas says the Rebel vs. Empire, Luke vs. Vader story will be resolved in Star Wars III, but still describes the trilogy of trilogies concept, saying the saga spans 55 years with twenty years between each trilogy (Once Upon A Galaxy).
zombie contends that the series became a trilogy of trilogies around this time because Lucas knew it would be difficult or impossible to keep actors around long enough to do an enormous, continuous narrative, so he chopped it into three-film sets (or at least, he defined Star Wars III as being the last of the "current" set, so he wouldn't have to worry too much).
Han Solo might die/be already dead/simply not appear in ROTJ, if Harrison Ford turned down participation in Star Wars III. 1979 (According to Mark Hamill, Once Upon A Galaxy?)
According to a 2000 interview with Gary Kurtz, Lucas's plans for Star Wars III were already changing during the strained process of making (filming?) ESB. So sometime between March 1979 and May 1980, the Sequel plans were officially created (and then continued to change, even to the point of rendering them moot?). As the nine film saga is only first mentioned in July of 1979, it's an even shorter span of time to consider - March 1979 to May 1980. Though there may be bleeding edges on either side of that span.
In the Making of ESB, on page 351, there's an unsourced, undated Lucas quote where he talks about the sequel films being borne out of a single additional "odd story" that would have complimented his "original six" films. Since this is undated, who knows exactly what he's referring to, but I wonder if this has something to do with the six film saga page shown earlier in the book? Their description as "odd" stories suggests he might be talking about the "Tangential Trilogy" of droids, wookiees, and the beginnings of the Jedi, which had been abandoned before 1980. So is this quote then from a point when the prequels and OT were conceptualized but the Sequel Trilogy (as we know it) hadn't yet been seriously considered?
Here's that quote (I think, I found it in another post):
"People were always asking, 'Are you going to do more sequels?'" Lucas says. "Sometimes I got carried away."
"Now George is talking about three more films," says Hamill, "a fourth trilogy that would have hardly anything to do with space, but would be these esoteric, philosophic, inner-directed films. Can you believe it? George has all this in his head, all figured out. The guy's incredible."
"The prequel stories exist - where Darth Vader came from, the whole story about Darth and Ben Kenobi - and it all takes place before Luke is born," Lucas says. "The other one - what happens to Luke afterward - is much more ethereal. I have a tiny notebook full of notes on that. If I'm really ambitious, I could proceed to figure out what would have happened to Luke.
"There are six original stories that were written - really, seven; one was an odd film. But six original - two trilogies - and they w